Thoughts: Building NIFTI 2.0

NIFTI 2.0

Last weekend, we kicked off the second year of the NIFTI program. I am calling it NIFTI 2.0 – The Sustainable Futures Initiative. Our primary focus will be on sustainability design thinking. There are many situations where sustainability design thinking is absent. The California water crisis is one.

The YCISL program sees sustainability design thinking as comprising smart programming, debugging and release to early adopters as prototypes. We will coach students to get divergent-convergent thinking to be instinctual and an essential ingredient of their emotional intelligence practice.

The new NIFTI will be less about career guidance, and more about upgraded and upgradable thinking skills. We will pollinate NIFTI with exercises from the ITW program so that students can envision what the next-generation of leadership needs to do – and how to do it.

If we were to give the current NIFTI group of students the challenge of solving the California water crisis, how would the divergent-convergent thinking process go? I think first we will have a long list of people who would be accountable. We will then have a comprehensive list of reasons for the water crisis perception. On the convergent side, we would design innovative solutions – perhaps a trio that get all stakeholders to realize we have a glass half full and the challenge is to get it more full, and not prevent it from getting emptier.

One of the premises I presented in the introduction to NIFTI 2.0 is “Sustainability has a PR problem” and that this explains why sustainability is stuck (stuck in the negatives as Alison Ledgerwood puts it) – and why it is so hard to move ahead. I am hoping that the NIFTI students will learn design thinking strategies to make sustainability behavior popular (like phenomenally popular) and practically naturally. And this leads to our NIFTI Roundtable 2021 topic of “Sustainability in Education.”

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